His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s Puja Teachings – September 20, 2015

Before the puja began, a disciple thanked His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for having bestowed upon him opportunities to observe auspicious signs on this trip to Tibet. They had moved him greatly, so he would especially like to report these signs to everyone this week.

First, he asked the Dharma brothers who had visited Drikung Thil Monastery to raise their hands (and more than half of the people present did so). Three hundred of them then raised their hands to indicate that they had gone on the recent trip to Drikung Thil Monastery, and more than ten of them had also taken photographs there. Next, the disciple talked about the images recorded by these Dharma brothers’ cell phones and cameras.

Before he began, he explained to everyone, “The ‘light spots’ often appearing in photography are formed on images when they are overexposed due to the adverse effects of light reflection on the camera. For example, as indicated by the arrow on the screen, sunshine hitting the camera has caused light rays and light spots to appear on this image. Furthermore, depending on the shape and build of the camera, such light effects tend to appear as eight- or sixteen-sided polygons.”

The disciple then invited everyone to have a look at the photograph displayed on the screen, and said that the double halo appearing right at midday, is truly rare. He asked everyone to pay attention to the image above the sun in the photograph that looked like a light spot, and magnified it so that the attendees could all see it a bit more clearly. After being enlarged, the light spot looked like a relief sculpture. Its outside might look like a polygon, but inside it looked like a sculpture. This sort of phenomenon was not easy to witness in nature. The disciple said that he believed the attendees could all agree that this was indeed an auspicious sign. He recalled that more than a few such auspicious signs had appeared during this trip to Tibet.

Next, he organized some images of moving light spots for everyone to see. “The photography team has put these photos together from ones that were submitted by various Dharma brothers. If you compare the images side by side, you can see that the light spots are actually moving.” For everyone’s convenience, he added special red markers to the photos.

Afterward, he asked the attendees to view the photographs displayed on the screen that had been taken by the more than ten Dharma brothers with their cell phones and cameras. All of the images had come out, and each camera and cell phone had been working normally before and after the “event,” so these photos had been compiled from those submitted by the ten or so photographers. They all contain red flowers that each camera captured simultaneously, but which you could not see with your physical eyes if you had been there.

Furthermore, in the photographs, the beams of light shone directly on the main hall of the monastery; what was most remarkable was that in the middle of those beams were rays of rainbow-colored light. “Everyone knows light shines in straight lines, and can be reflected.” The disciple asked the attendees if they had ever seen rays of light turn a corner. “It is absolutely unfathomable that one of these photographs shows a rainbow shining around a corner, and another shows a row of white spots of light, forming a very neat and orderly straight line. These all have special significance, and are extremely uncommon.”

Finally, he wrapped up with a description of some words that had been shared by a monastic during this trip to Tibet: “She had resided at a monastery in Taiwan for more than ten years. There she had worked as a photographer and editor of photography. She said that she had seen some auspicious signs in the past, too, but that she had never before seen such breathtaking auspicious signs as these.” The disciple ended his sharing by again expressing his gratitude toward His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

Another disciple then stood to express his gratitude to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for having bestowed upon him this opportunity to share an account of how the guru had saved his wife from her difficult labor and compassionately blessed their son, who had a cleft lip and palate.

The disciple had taken refuge in April of 2012, and his wife had followed suit, but more recently. After taking refuge, however, he had not genuinely amended his behavior, so she had not possessed sufficient faith. As such, his wife had not been allowed to participate in the weekly Sunday pujas or take refuge prior to being pregnant. One time she had implored His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for permission to participate in the pujas, but her attitude had not been right. Therefore, the guru had told her to go home and think about why she wanted to do so, and then said that he would await her response. The disciple was grateful to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for bestowing the causal conditions to practice Buddhism, as well as for manifesting such great powers that had directly targeted the problems plaguing the disciple and his wife. The upshot was that in October of last year (2014), after prenatal examination results had shown that the fetus had a cleft lip and palate, his wife was able to respectfully and sincerely implore His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for help. The disciple again thanked the guru for having solved their problems and helped his wife so that she could practice Buddhism.

His son’s problem had been discovered during a routine prenatal examination. Upon finding out that the child might have a cleft lip and palate, the entire family had immediately sunk into the depths of gloom and anxiety. His wife had been even worse off, and had cried all day long. She had also begun to blame herself for having perhaps worked too hard, thus potentially causing a growth defect in the fetus. Some of the family members had blamed it on what they deemed a possible lack of nutrients as a result of her vegetarian diet. However, this turmoil had all been settled and their situation had greatly changed for the better after he and his wife had sought an audience with His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. At first the guru had instructed them to go home and discuss the idea of his wife quitting her job so she could take it easy, thereby protecting the fetus. His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had then pointed out that the disciple’s mother-in-law, who had accompanied them to their audience with the guru, cared very deeply for his wife, but that she was unable to give them any assistance with this situation. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had also told the disciple that the fact that such a problem had occurred was an indication that the disciple had not fulfilled the requirements set forth by his guru. For that reason, his offering was not accepted. He was grateful for His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s teachings.

During their second audience, he had immediately reported to the guru that his wife had been given maternity leave without pay. His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had replied, “Each day while resting at home, your wife should make an offering of fresh flowers to the mandala, respectfully recite the Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows once or twice, and chant Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s sacred name between a hundred and a thousand times. If she can succeed in doing these things every day, I will bless her.” The guru then asked the disciple’s wife, several times, what she would do if her family was opposed to her carrying out those things. She had answered that she would certainly follow the guru’s advice, no matter what. Presently, His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had blessed his wife for a long time, and then compassionately said that the reason her fetus had formed a cleft lip and palate was to do with the fact that her grandparents had been farmers; they had driven a hole through a cow’s nose, thereby causing suffering to a sentient being. The disciple had thanked His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for having so clearly identified the problem. The guru had also instructed the disciple to make one thousand grand prostrations each day on behalf of his wife. Finally, the compassionate Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche promised to implore Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha to save and protect the unborn baby.

While she was at home resting, his wife had neither spent all day crying nor complained or accused others about her predicament. She had just done as the guru had instructed. By the time her baby was born, his cleft had begun to extend from his upper lip down to the roof of his oral cavity. Because the guru had come to his rescue, however, a piece of flesh had mysteriously grown right in the middle of the cleft, connecting the two sides together. This had lessened the cleft’s severity greatly after the child’s birth, and given it a width that was within the realm of controllability. While examining the baby, the doctor had confirmed that the cleft was now less than 0.1cm wide, and that when the child closed his mouth the two sides of the cleft could draw nearly completely together. The piece of flesh that had grown in-between had eliminated the need for the fitting of a dental capping plate, a procedure required by most newborn infants with cleft lips and palates.

This fitting of a dental capping plate would have involved placing a mold made of acrylic resin into the infant’s mouth to help close the cleft from the inside. This would allow the child to breastfeed normally and avoid the torment of having breathable adhesive tape affixed to either side of the cleft, as well as wires threaded through to bring the two halves closer together. The disciple was grateful to His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche for having used such great powers to save their child from such discomforts. Apart from the abovementioned problem, everything about the newborn infant was quite normal. Right then and there, the disciple wished to repent for not having genuinely kept the precepts or amended his behavior. This had led to the occurrence of problems such as the one they had experienced, forcing the guru to have to take the trouble to bestow assistance. The disciple also repented for not having succeeded in making a thousand grand prostrations each day. Nevertheless, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had given blessings and protection to this unworthy disciple. After reflecting on how he had acted and on the great kindness and benevolence the guru had bestowed, the disciple felt truly ashamed to the extreme.

Ever since the disciple had first become a believer, he had always maintained the erroneous attitude that the purpose of practicing Buddhism was to seek protection and blessings. He recalled that during the process of taking refuge, his wife, whom he had not yet married at the time, had accompanied him to seek his audience with the guru. His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had pointed out that his fiancée would hinder his Buddhist practice, but the disciple had nevertheless prioritized his own desires and thought that if he implored a few more times, he would get what he wanted. Because his attitude had merely been one of supplicating for blessings and protection, he had been unable to be honest with his wife with regard to his reasons for practicing Buddhism. After finally taking refuge, he had continued to insist on doing things his own way and acting in a very self-centered fashion. All along he had seen the Dharma as just something he could use for his own benefit, so he had been unable to realistically self-reflect. He had just kept on participating in the weekly pujas without actually learning to implement the guru’s teachings in his daily life. Only after encountering a major problem had he realized that he should reflect on the mistakes he had made, and that he had truly been foolish.

Not long after taking refuge, he had been under the impression that he was doing a good job of chanting the mantra, but to his surprise this little conceit had caused him to forget to participate in his evening-prayer session. From that day on, he had been prohibited from participating in such sessions again. After taking refuge, he’d had a continuous stream of evil thoughts. Sometimes, when seeing His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, he had even felt defensive. The guru’s teachings are as refreshing as a spring rain shower, however, and this fact had caused him, despicable disciple though he was, to realize the severity of his own karma. For example, during his very first audience with His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the guru had admonished, “Why do you have so many attachments?”

After having taken refuge for more than three years, the disciple had become a posterchild for the type of obstinacy and unruliness often mentioned by His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. Nevertheless, the guru had never turned his back on him, unworthy though the disciple was. His mother and grandmother had both had their consciousness transferred by the guru by way of the Chod, and his wife had been saved by the guru as well; otherwise, she could never have survived the massive postnatal hemorrhage she’d had to endure. One might say that she had taken a stroll past Death’s door, and very nearly lost her footing: Soon after giving birth, she had been in a critical condition due to having lost nearly 1500cc of blood. Her family members had worried so much that they had even asked him to make a phone call to implore for the guru’s help. At the time, the disciple had just wondered why he should need to telephone, given His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s omnipresence. Besides, his entire family had received blessings and protection from the guru, so his wife would surely get through this crisis safely. Sure enough, his wife’s bleeding had miraculously stopped without any further complications.

Had his wife not been rescued by His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s blessings, then the disciple would have had to take care of their cleft-lipped son all by himself, he feared. Were it not for the compassionate protection bestowed by the guru, he really did not know how he would have survived, let alone be so mercifully accepted into the guru’s fold and allowed to receive such wondrous Dharma teachings while participating in the weekly pujas, despicable disciple that he was. He also deeply repented for not having actually succeeded in making one thousand grand prostrations each day as the guru had instructed. After reflecting upon all the kindness bestowed by His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, the disciple felt truly and extremely ashamed. Thanks to the guru’s benevolence, not long after making grand prostrations one day, on his way to work he had mistakenly stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal and slammed the car in front of him onto the median strip. Luckily, no one had gotten hurt, but damages had amounted to nearly NT$1,000,000. To his surprise, however, he happened to have been driving the only company vehicle that was fully insured, so the entire cost of repairs had been covered. Still, he repented for having been too slack to make as many daily grand prostrations as the guru had instructed.

Finally, he shared some observations about His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s magnificent powers. On January 11th of this year, during the Green Tara Puja presided over by the guru, the disciple had privately implored Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche to give compassionate protection to his son, who at the time was not yet born. After performing the Dharma for a while, the guru had repeated something similar to what the disciple had been told during his last audience with the guru. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said, “That this sort of thing happened today is an indication that you should reflect upon where you have gone wrong in your Buddhist practice. Even though things will still happen to you, your guru and the Dharma protectors can cause such incidences to occur on a more limited basis in such a way that they can be controlled and resolved.” Looking at his son’s condition, he knew that this was exactly what had happened; His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s auspicious blessings had caused a piece of flesh to grow within his son’s cleft lip and palate, thereby making it easier for the surgical procedure to succeed. In addition, the boy had recovered marvelously well.

Everything he had right now had been granted by His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche, and for this the disciple felt nothing but gratitude. He was deeply thankful that when he’d taken his month-old son with him to seek an audience, His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had said that the child would be able to recover after just three to four operations. While blessing the infant, the guru had whispered to the baby, “You and I have met before.” The disciple was grateful for the rescue and protection His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had bestowed upon his entire family, without which, he feared, they would have been wrenched apart. His wife would long ago have passed away, and he would not have been able to take care of his infant son by himself, whose cleft lip and palate would have required special care. As such, he would not have been able to successfully raise him to adulthood. The disciple had once asked his wife why she had changed her mind and decided to learn Buddhism. She had replied that after having such an experience, if she did not hurry up and begin practicing, then she would be truly foolish indeed. The disciple wanted to learn from this and genuinely meet the standard set forth by the guru of carrying out the Ten Meritorious Acts and the Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas. He would no longer wait until something bad happened before realizing that he should reflect upon his actions, nor would he remain forever oblivious to progress, troubling the guru for help only after his own karmic retribution had manifested. Finally, the disciple prayed that His Eminence Vajra Guru Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche would keep turning the Dharma wheel so that all sentient beings could have the causes, conditions, and good fortune to learn the true Dharma, become liberated from life and death, escape suffering, and obtain happiness.

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche ascended the Dharma throne to bestow precious teachings upon the attendees.

“Today I will continue to reveal the contents of the Ratnakuta Sutra. When practicing Buddhism, one must have a position in the Dharma method that one is cultivating. At the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center we practice the Vajrayana Path, but of course one is not transmitted Vajrayana as soon as one sets foot in the door. Vajrayana is based on Mahayana Buddhism, which is the Bodhisattva Path. This is the only Dharma method we lay practitioners can cultivate to become liberated from life and death, as we cannot practice Hinayana Buddhism. There are monastics who do cultivate along that path, but it is extremely difficult to achieve attainment that way because they lack this kind of environment and other expedient means that could help them practice. It is written in the Ratnakuta Sutra that those who cultivate along the Bodhisattva Path are completely different from ordinary people in that the former must meet certain requirements with regard to amending their actions of body, speech, and mind.

“As I have often said, Emperor Wu of Liang spent a lifetime building many Buddhist temples throughout China. He stipulated that all monastics must eat vegetarian, and even wrote sastras. When Bodhidharma met with him, however, Emperor Wu of Liang asked whether or not his many Buddhist activities had caused him to accumulate any merits, and Bodhidharma told him that they had not. I would like to make a gift of these words to you all: Do not assume that having offered a bit of money, participated in the pujas every week, chanted mantras every day, and eaten vegetarian necessarily means that you have accumulated merits. Likewise, do not labor under the misapprehension that just because you might be a monastic and have engendered an aspiration for cultivation, it means you definitely have merits—because actually, you do not have any at all. Why not? It is because you have not yet met a Bodhisattva’s standards of body, speech, and mind. The Ratnakuta Sutra contains revelations by Shakyamuni Buddha to sentient beings. If you wish to practice along the Bodhisattva Path, then your actions of body, speech, and mind must differ from those of ordinary people. By this I do not simply mean that you should appear different on the surface or behave in a shocking manner to get everyone’s attention; rather, you have to think the exact same way a Bodhisattva would.

“In the Ratnakuta Sutra there is mention of ‘attachment to places.’ This means being attached to wherever you settle down, including your places of residence and retreat; it means only feeling happy when you are in a specific place. Many practitioners have this shortcoming; they do not adapt to conditions as they arise. Your causal conditions were what led you to these places, so why be attached to the idea of seeking out a nice location in the mountains or near a stream at which to practice? Can you only cultivate if you’ve found a Buddhist center that you like? Such attitudes are wrong. ‘Attachment to vehicles’ refers to things you ride. In the past there were no cars; there were only horse- or cattle-drawn carts and carriages. This attachment involves insisting on riding in a horse-drawn carriage whenever you go out, and refusing to sit in an ox-drawn one; or you would insist on riding in an ox-drawn cart instead of one that is being pulled by a donkey. ‘Attachment to a certain sitting place’ means always wanting to sit in a high seat so that people think you look like a dignified practitioner. It is true that the rule is for practitioners to ascend the Dharma throne while performing the Dharma, but that does not mean they cling to a need to sit in just such a seat every time they perform it.

“When you were at Drikung Thil Monastery you all saw quite clearly that in Achi Temple, the monastics kept searching for a good chair for me to sit in. I told them there was no need; a place to sit and perform the Dharma would suffice. After all, I was the one performing the Dharma, not the chair. A practitioner should not cling to the idea that he or she absolutely must conduct rituals from atop a Dharma throne. After all, practitioners can go anywhere to perform the Chod. The point I am trying to make is that you should not let yourselves be attached to having or not having a Dharma throne. The most important thing is whether or not you have bodhicitta to help sentient beings. This ‘attachment to a certain sitting place’ does not apply to you; it applies to Dharma masters, Rinpoches, Khenpos, and so on. This sort of thing happens a lot out there. Some people demand certain ways to set the stage up so that it looks solemn and dignified, but which should be solemn and dignified—the chair or the practitioner? Thus, anyone who is attached to sitting on certain types of furniture has not learned the Bodhisattva Path, even if he or she claims to be cultivating it.

“‘Attachment to certain foods and beverages’ means clinging to a desire to eat and drink certain things. When we arrived at Drikung Thil Monastery, the monks made offerings of yak butter tea, yoghurt, and sweet tea. I drank them all; I would not have refused to consume something I’m not fond of just so that I could drink my preferred Pu’er tea, as that would have been wrong. Those drinks were offered to me, so I drank some whether I liked it or not. This was to give people the opportunity to make offerings to me. After I left the monastery to go to the birthplace of Dharma Protector Achi, local believers kept on pouring cups of tea for me. This continued even when I was about to leave. A person next to me wanted to stop them, but I said not to, because I wanted to give them this opportunity to make offerings.

“If a Bodhisattva were to become attached to certain foods and beverages, then that would naturally preclude some opportunities for people to make offerings. Some of you might think, But Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche doesn’t eat the food offerings we give him. Well, that’s because I need to watch my figure! In all seriousness, though, whenever you bring food offerings to me, I offer them in turn to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas on your behalf, and then let you take the food home to eat. However, in a place like Tibet, life is really very hard, so I gave those people further opportunities. Don’t complain glibly that I won’t eat your food offerings. Sometimes I do, but it depends on the attitude of the person making the offering.

“‘Attachment to one’s children’ means exactly what it says. Many people are attached to their children, and no matter how well they cultivate, they all will worry about their kids before they die. Let me therefore give you an example to think about: My own son was disobedient, so I punished him by refusing to see him for two and a half years. In my shoes, you would have been torn with grief at doing such a thing. The reason I often tell my disciples that they don’t need to fly overseas to visit their children is that this sort of act can cause them to develop attachments. Given that your purpose is to practice Buddhism, I am not asking you to completely cut yourselves off from your entire family, but you should understand that in this lifetime your sons and daughters are all here to form affinities, and many of those connections might be evil. Think about it: What makes you deserve to form good connections? If you did not do a good job of cultivating in this lifetime or in your past lives, then how is it possible that your children are here to form good affinities with you?

“Your connection with your children only exists during this lifetime. Whether they are here to repay their debts to you, owe you more debts, or collect debts from you, once you pass away from this lifetime, that connection will terminate. You should not assume that they will be your children again in the next lifetime. Can you guarantee that you will be their parents again? What if you reincarnate as their spouses? Wouldn’t that be incest? Thus, you must not remain attached to your kids. Until they are eighteen years old, you have a responsibility to educate them. After that, however, your sons and daughters should live their own lives. Many people cherish their children as if they were precious treasures, and keep them by their sides constantly; they believe it is their duty to prevent any harm from coming to them. With so many sentient beings suffering in the world, however, why won’t you take a moment to care for them for a change? If you are attached to your children, then you will actually do them harm, because if they know they are adored and spoiled by their parents no matter what, they will not feel the need to change. As a result, when worse comes to worst they will feel it is no big deal because they can just go home.

“Last time a disciple, who obviously knew that what her child had done was wrong, nevertheless brought him with her to seek an audience with me, and was grinning broadly while hoping that I would provide some guidance. This is an example of being attached to one’s child. As parents, if you have not done a good job of educating your children, then you have already let down all sentient beings. For this you should repent; you should not simply hope that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas teach your kids how to be filial toward their parents, thus preventing them from committing any further wrongdoings. In the sutras it is written that if parents do not do a good job of teaching their children, then the parents are the ones at fault. Even if the children committed a lot of evil acts in their past lives, and have returned to this world at the mercy of their karma, their parents can still teach them while they are in the womb and after they have been born. Doing so is far better than waiting until your children have made some mistakes and then imploring the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to eliminate their karmic hindrances for them. No one understands this point.

“It is clearly stated in the sutras that if a mother and father do not educate their children, then the parents will fall into hell. Why is that the case? It is because by not educating their children, the parents will have allowed them to go out and harm others. When a child is born, not only does he or she come burdened with karma from previous lives, but he or she knows nothing about how to act in this lifetime. Such knowledge must be imparted by the parents. If a child learns to commit crimes and behave in an evil manner that has everything to do with the example set by his or her parents and what they have or have not taught their child. How can you blame the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for not protecting your kids? What did you teach your children when they were little? The Dharma taught by the Buddha is aimed at our shortcomings.

“Some monastics still think about their children. Being ordained, though, how can they continue to worry about their kids? A couple of monastics once came and asked me about this sort of thing. Because they were ordained, I was relatively polite toward them; had they been my disciples, however, I might already have asked them to leave a long time ago. That they felt the need to ask such a question was an indication that no one had taught them Buddhism. If lay practitioners on the Bodhisattva Path should not remain attached to their sons and daughters, then how can monastics? Once you have educated your children, anything they decide to do afterward is a result of their own karma. This includes whether or not they practice the Dharma in your footsteps. Since taking refuge in Buddhism, not once have I ever forced my children to eat vegetarian or follow me into a life of cultivation. I have always allowed them to make their own decisions, because if they possess the right good fortune and karma, then they will naturally end up practicing Buddhism anyway. If they do not, then there is no point in forcing them.

“In the sutra it is written, ‘…attachment to oxen and crops, and worries about the honesty or abilities of servants and staff.’ This refers to the fact that in ancient times, some wealthy practitioners of the Bodhisattva Path would grow attached to their oxen and how well or poorly their crops had been planted. Here the word ‘worries’ did not mean being concerned over the safety of their staff; rather, they worried about whether their servants and staff would swindle them or instead help them earn money and get the job done right. I am a lay practitioner, and I run a group of businesses. In my companies I train young people, and the longer they work for me, the more they earn. It is a system in which the companies take the initiative to increase people’s salaries based on length of employment. I do not need to entice my employees, because the companies’ system is complete. Many people think the word ‘worries’ here refers to being anxious over the wellbeing of those people, but the actual words in the sutra are about the servants not getting the job done right for their masters or helping them earn money. I often tell my staff that being able to make money has to do with their boss’s good fortune, not their own. Employees simply get paid a salary, so to be worthy of it, they must devote their time and energy.

“This advice is for all wage-earners, too. Don’t assume that your boss would fail without you. Many people think that if worse comes to worst, it is no big deal, because they can always just stop working. If you do this, however, then it will mean an end to that causal condition you had. Some people don’t believe this, and think that their boss will go bankrupt as soon as they leave. This is a very evil sort of thing to say. Would you only feel important if your boss’s company went under after you left? This is such an evil thought which many people harbor.

“Conversely, as the boss or someone in charge, you should not be afraid of your employees doing something wrong; rather, you should worry about whether or not they have worked under you in accordance with Buddhist concepts. If they have not, then you have hired the wrong people. They will speak nonsense and be full of greed, hatred, and ignorance, like what happened with the recent scandal involving MRT passes. The reason that occurred was that the mayor of a city had been worried that no project results could be shown to the public, so he let the culprit take on complete responsibility for a certain project. Then, when the problems appeared, the mayor originally wanted to stop the culprit from doing anything further, but was concerned that this might lead to the culprit’s loss of employment. The mayor therefore covered it up, and the scandal just got bigger and bigger. Therefore, without Buddhism, this world would fall into chaos.

“The concept illustrated by this section of the sutra is that if people are willing to work for you, it is a result of the good fortune you have cultivated. Treating people well does not mean constantly giving them money or speaking their praise; rather, it involves teaching them how to do things correctly, and to not cheat customers or behave in a deceptive manner. If they fail to listen, then you should tell them to leave in a tactful and gentle manner. You should not instead constantly stress over their mistakes that might have caused you to lose money. I have many employees who have made mistakes, but I do not punish them; I punish myself by closing the business temporarily but continuing to pay those employees their salaries. You’ve never heard of a boss like me, anywhere in the world, because I don’t worry over whether or not my employees help the company earn a profit. Having the courage to lose money like this is what sets people cultivating the Bodhisattva Path apart from yourselves, because they are capable of renunciation.

“You shouldn’t play such games with me; don’t assume that just because I am very compassionate, it means I can’t get along without you. This conception is not very accurate. If I am not even attached to my own children, then how could I become attached to you? You really don’t believe what I say, and you just keep on playing games. You think I’m growing increasingly powerful, and attracting more and more followers, but one day I might suddenly disappear—just wait and see—because I have no worries, and am not attached to anything at all. The fact that I am devoid of any attachments and I am cultivating in the right direction is the reason why I dare say that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are in support of my way; although, humbly, I would not necessarily declare that any auspicious signs appeared during our recent trip to Drikung Thil Monastery.

“Over the course of my more than twenty years of Buddhist practice so far, if I had violated the Samaya Commandments or any of the precepts, then so many auspicious signs could not possibly have appeared. This is because the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Dharma protectors are not idiots; nothing can be hidden from them. With so many people imploring for Their help every day, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do not sit around in idleness. These auspicious signs weren’t manifested for my benefit; they appeared for you to see, my foolish disciples. In what ways have you been foolish? When you don’t understand something, you nevertheless pretend you do. You obviously cannot discern a true practitioner, yet you act as though you can. Not one of you has practiced in accordance with what is written in the Ratnakuta Sutra. What exactly are you trying to cultivate? A better life for yourselves? Even though Emperor Wu of Liang did so much, Bodhidharma still said he had not attained any merits. How, then, can you think that you have accumulated any? Emperor Wu of Liang had no merits because he did not practice the Bodhisattva Path; he merely cultivated to make himself happy, thinking that if he succeeded in doing a lot of great deeds, then he would be very well-off. However, that is not what it means to be a Bodhisattva.

“In the sutra there is mention of worrying over stores of grain and silk, various treasures, and so on. Don’t be deceived when you see people who seem to be cultivating Buddhism; actually, many of them could be fake practitioners. The year before last, the mixed foreign rice incident occurred. Before it was publicized, the head of that company visited me in India. I was a lay practitioner, however, and would not call him a major benefactor or a Mahasattva. Because of this, the man acted rather arrogant. While still in India, I told him to be careful of his subordinates doing things of which he was unaware and causing him to get into strife. He continued to speak proudly, however, saying that he’d done a good deed by allowing those farmers to plant organic rice. However, I thought to myself that this was someone who clearly had family members who were constantly swindling people. As it turned out, after the scandal was uncovered the man learned that his own son had been committing such outrages.

“Recently a well-established brand got into trouble with one of its products, which we’ve all been drinking our whole lives. The wife of the boss of this company once came to seek an audience with me, during which I advised her that she had made enough money over the past several decades. The incident had not yet happened at the time, and she thought that as the CEO’s wife, she was within her rights to ask me to teach her Buddhism on a one-on-one basis. As soon as I heard her request, I refused. Why wouldn’t I allow it? It is written in the sutras that a guru may not transmit the Dharma individually, unless it is Tantra. Furthermore, with a following of over a thousand disciples these days, how could I possibly transmit the Dharma to you one at a time? So I refused her, because otherwise she might have thought that having a Tantric practitioner willing to transmit the Dharma to her individually would give her protection and blessings for her actions.

“I always warn these people in advance, so why do they still get into trouble even though they practice Buddhism, eat vegetarian, make offerings, and participate in the pujas? It is because they have not cultivated the Bodhisattva Path, and worry about being poor. They are anxious that the things they have placed in those granaries will spoil and be unsellable, thus causing them to lose money. On the surface, the contents of this sutra just seem to be teaching us to practice along the Bodhisattva Path, but strictly speaking, this is the only way to avoid any chance of giving rise to greed and therefore committing wrongdoings. Some people worry over their financial wealth, and do everything in their power to protect it. As such, they naturally end up committing evil acts. I have a disciple who used to play the stock market for a large corporation. Everything seemed to be going fine, but money was only distributed to the shareholders as long as he was able to manipulate the stock market so that their shares did not lose any value. Strictly speaking, this is a form of cheating.

“One factor in the rise and fall of stock prices is the company’s performance, while another is the overall trend of the market. If someone deliberately manipulates the price of shares up or down so that the company can make a bit more money, the ones who lose out are the investors. However, everyone thinks there is nothing wrong with this sort of behavior. My company’s securities can be traded over-the-counter, but I have never applied for this. It’s not that I am afraid to; rather, if my employees make any mistakes, then the company could immediately close down. If its securities were traded over-the-counter, then the shareholders would question why the company wasn’t still in operation, and would ask for those people to be fired so that new employees could be brought on board.” A disciple who was an accountant confirmed that based on its financial portfolio, the Glorious Jewel Group was indeed qualified to trade over-the-counter, or ‘OTC,’ securities.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued to bestow teachings. “If my company were to trade in OTC securities, I would be able to retire immediately. However, this is a deceptive practice, so I will not do it. The original meaning of ‘share certificate’ was a sum of money raised to fund your commercial plans and enable you to give jobs to a lot of people. This is a fairly reasonable business model. Manipulating the price of shares, then, is just a euphemism for keeping your company from losing money. Is that way of doing things legal?” The accountant-disciple replied that if the share price manipulation were premeditated, or done deliberately, then this behavior would swindle all of the investors, break the law, and violate the Securities and Exchange Act, and a considerable portion of the legal responsibility for such behavior would lie with the company’s management.

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche sighed and said, “There are a lot of people in Taiwan who do business without any heed to the consequences; the only thing they fear is losing money. Other than cause and effect, I am afraid of nothing; least of all going broke. The reason I am discussing this matter here today is not to emphasize the difference between myself and others; rather, it is to illustrate this line written in the sutra, which says one should not be attached to one’s financial wealth. If I were attached to my money, with an accountant by my side, I would certainly be capable of manipulating it. So why don’t I? It is because I practice Buddhism. According to Tantrism, things such as financial wealth and so on will naturally appear whenever a guru achieves attainments in his or her practice. For me, these are all based on the law of cause and condition; they are not here for me to enjoy. Nor were they given to me by anybody; I cultivated them myself. For this reason, I would not deliberately go out of my way to create more financial wealth.

“If my company were to start trading OTC securities, then I would not need to take on so many responsibilities; I could just dump them all on my accountants and let them look after everything. Many people are unaware of when they have committed evil acts. They think they’ve done nothing wrong, because they believe that every company out there acts the same way. None of my companies operate like that, however, because it would go against the Buddha’s teachings. I would not dare violate them, because I am afraid of cause and effect. Anyone who is attached to ‘stores of grain and silk, various treasures, and so on’ is not qualified to walk the Bodhisattva Path. Some monastics still worry about not being able to afford a coffin, so they think about setting some money aside. However, since you are already wearing Tathagata’s garb, why do you still worry about having no one to care for you at the time of your death? There is no need for monastics to set money aside. I, on the other hand, have no choice but to save up a bit of money to leave for the furtherance of the Dharma lineage.

“It is written in the sutra, ‘If practitioners of the Bodhisattva Path are attached to such things, then upon losing any one of them, they will feel worried, sorrowful, grievous, and distressed.’ As a cultivator of the Bodhisattva Path, if you have not viewed everything around you from the perspective of the law of cause and condition, and you think that you possess these things and that they belong to you, and you insist on acting in such a manner, then as soon as something happens to the aforementioned things and you lose them, you will be afflicted with worry and sorrow.

“We practice Buddhism in the hope that we can reduce and even eliminate our afflictions. However, if you keep on practicing on the one hand while increasing your afflictions of the other, then aren’t you causing trouble for the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas? You might be chanting mantras, but aren’t you simultaneously trying to get the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to make your husbands listen to you, force your sons to amend their naughty ways, and have your guru bless your children so that they will immediately behave? My son is disobedient, yet I have never implored Dharma Protector Achi to make him hurry back and do as he is told, because I know that this is the result of my own causal conditions. I only need to fulfill my promises to sentient beings, the Buddhas, and the Bodhisattvas rather than make daily dedications to my son; whether or not he returns home is his own business. By contrast, you all would make dedications to your sons and daughters.

“Of all the many disciples and believers following His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang, only I have achieved attainment. The reason you are unable to follow suit is that you still have attachments. The Dharma I performed when we went to Drikung Thil Monastery was not for myself; it was for the sake of sentient beings, the Order, and my disciples. This is why I was able to become attuned to the mind of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Some of you might think you have said the same thing, but your words are inconsistent with how you normally act. I believe that not all of the three hundred disciples who visited Drikung Thil Monastery that day were there for their own purposes; many probably felt they had gone there to make offerings and prostrations to the Buddhas on behalf of other sentient beings. They did not become attuned, however, and that is exactly due to their ordinary attachments. This inspiration had only come to them once in a blue moon, but they still considered themselves very aspired and remarkable.

“One disciple, for example, while coming forward to share his impressions, even said that he felt embarrassed because he felt stage fright at the thought of speaking after ten other people had already shared theirs. If that was the case—and he was even afraid to praise his guru—then how could he consider himself qualified to propagate the Dharma? The purpose of this trip to Drikung Thil Monastery was to allow you all to see the shortcomings and problems that exist within your own cultivation; it was not to praise my remarkableness. I don’t think I am the least bit remarkable, because I still have the body of an ordinary person. It’s just that my mind is truly different from yours.

“If you continue not to listen to the Buddha’s teachings and put them into practice, and if you do not hurry up and make a firm resolve to amend your ways, then it will be useless for you to keep coming here. I will not be able to save you; all I can do is wait until you’ve died and save you when you’re most in need. The sutra makes mention of people worrying over things and being unwilling to let go of financial wealth, etc. Everyone tends to have such problems. A little while back, one of my disciples passed away. He had been worried about his daughter not having any money, and had wanted to leave her some. As a result, he wasn’t immediately able to find me when he died. I had agreed to perform the Phowa for him, but because of that attachment of his, he was unable to become attuned to the mind of his guru and the Bodhisattvas. I was eventually able to transfer his consciousness for him, but first he had to suffer awhile.

“You would think, Is suffering for a day really that big of a deal? Imagine, for a moment, that you have locked yourself inside a pitch-black room for an entire day without anyone there to talk to you. How would you cope? You would certainly feel quite terrified.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche called on a disciple and asked him whether or not he’d been taking traditional Chinese medication on a daily basis. He answered that he had indeed. Because many people were unaware of this disciple’s situation, Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche instructed him to speak to the attendees about how he had been helped.

This disciple said that he had taken refuge on July 10th of 2005. Because he had often been by Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche’s side and run errands for the guru, he’d felt it safe to say that he could rely on Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche. The disciple had thought it would be best if his blood pressure rose to between 160 and 180 and he passed away, because that way he could be liberated by the guru. He had thought that given his condition, he might as well pass away in a rather tragic and glorious manner. After all, he’d thought, he still had Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche on whom to rely. In the end, tragedy really had hit. That day a cerebellar stroke had put him in a coma, and while in that state, his consciousness had seemed to be like the head of a bullet in the barrel of a gun. In front of him had been an extremely bright light, and when he looked behind him with his subconscious mind, he had been able to see that a drop of ink had dripped into the gun powder inside the bullet casing. In the blackness, illuminated by only very faint light, he’d seen that the gun powder had been thusly polluted—but just in the nick of time, right before it exploded, he had suddenly heard Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche calling his name and telling him to come down from there. Reacting without thinking, the disciple had left the chamber right away. A moment later he’d heard a pow sound as the bullet had been fired. Now he had a profound sense that listening to the guru really is extremely important, for if Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche had not shouted at him to come down in such a timely manner, the disciple probably would have had his Dharma brothers bowing a goodbye to him during his funeral ceremony with their Glorious Jewel vests on.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued. “This disciple experienced something that everyone will go through at his or her time of death. According to the Nyingma Order, the blackness that disciple saw was the state of Full Attainment from Darkness. After a person stops breathing and dies, the first thing he or she sees is complete darkness. We humans are all afraid of the dark, and not a single psychologist in the entire world can explain why. This is because we must go through such a process when we die, and the light we then see means that our consciousness is about to leave our bodies. Given that disciple’s situation, I still was able to save him, but based on what? Besides the good fortune and merits of the guru, the disciple’s faith is also important.” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche asked the disciple, “When you saw that darkness, were you afraid?” The disciple answered, “I really was very afraid.”

Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche continued. “If you all keep on refusing to listen, then you will experience the same thing this disciple did. However, your outcome might be different from his, because I cannot possibly save each and every one of you like that. It depends on how thoroughly your mind has been immersed. When you took refuge, you were told about the guru’s blessings, and that the reason you should give praise to your guru is not because he needs your admiration. Your guru knows very clearly what level of attainment he has cultivated, after all. However, only by praising the guru’s merits can these merits reach you; thus, his blessings will be by your side at all times. As a result, if it is not your time to die, then you will be rescued. If it is, then you at least will not fall into the Three Evil Realms.

“Don’t look down on the Tantra-cultivating lay guru. I am not trying to brag about my abilities; I am worried about you. If you continue to be doubtful, deluded, and undecided, then when your time comes, no one will be there to save you. That disciple’s experience can serve as an example for you to understand how the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and your guru can save disciples such as yourselves, and which can teach you what the process of death will be like. This sort of thing would not happen in a lot of places, no matter how big those places were, so why did it happen to this disciple? It was because he had already begun to make some grand prostrations, and I am constantly keeping my disciples in my mind.

“At the time, this disciple had already entered the state of Full Attainment from Darkness, so the next step was to stop breathing. Very soon he would enter the White Bodhi state, and then he would be gone. There are also a lot of Westerners who record these sorts of experiences of having seen a light at their time of death. They think it is the angels come to receive them, but that is not actually the case. Rather, it is the illumination of their own bodies, which is also referred to as ‘the light of self-nature’. If you see this light, and go into it, then there is no way to save you and bring you back to life. The reason I can achieve this level of cultivation has somewhat to do with my past lives, of course, but the most important factor is that in this lifetime you must listen; otherwise, no matter what I say, it will be useless to you. If you frequently fret over various things that might happen to you, then you will be full of afflictions of worry, sorrow, grief, and distress; your mind will grow confused and restless. Thus, without a pure and meditative mind, no matter how much you chant mantras or recite the sutras, you will fail to become attuned to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. That is because while in samadhi, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do not give rise to any thoughts at all. Only if a practitioner’s energy is equal to that of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas can the practitioner then be attuned to Them. Why is it that all of your daily recitations have been useless so far? Of course they have been useless, because you have been reciting with a mind that is afflicted by desire, worry, and sorrow, grief, and distress.

“The next words in the sutra are, ‘If practitioners of the Bodhisattva Path nurture their hearts with love and desire, then their minds will become impure like the core of a tooth, eroding away their original Buddha-nature.’ This means that if people cultivating the Bodhisattva Path immerse their minds with love and desire instead of with the Dharma, then their minds will lose their original purity. With desires in their hearts, they will bite themselves, chewing away their innate Buddha-nature. It takes much longer than just a single day to attain this level of cultivation, but you still should listen to these concepts, continue practicing in this direction, and do however much you can do. There is no need to set a timeframe for yourself to achieve this goal; once you have the necessary causal conditions, you will naturally succeed. Until then, there is no use in dwelling on it too much.

“The sutra text continues: ‘Good man! To put it briefly, “karma of mind” is like a wheel turning non-stop. Hence it is called “non-virtuous karma of mind”.’ Here Shakyamuni Buddha says the words, ‘good man,’ but for now I won’t get into exactly what that means. The Buddha gives a brief explanation of the karma of mind. As is written in the Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows, every thought produced by an ordinary person generates karma and vice, and will also create forces that lead to reincarnation. This is what karma is. Not all karma is evil; good karma can cause us to reincarnate as well. In the Ratnakuta Sutra, the Buddha succinctly points out that karma of mind is like a continuously turning wheel, and that all such actions are called ‘non-virtuous karma of mind.’ Listen carefully, everyone: These words spoken by the Buddha contain no mention of harming or feeling hatred toward people; they only refer to attachments, all of which are defined as non-virtuous karma. Each of you should examine your own mind. How many non-virtuous karmic thoughts do you have each day? If your mind isn’t virtuous, then how dare you tell others that you are cultivating the Bodhisattva Path?

“Some people try to expound the Ratnakuta Sutra but are unable to finish, because the more they talk about it, the more afraid they become. If they themselves have not fulfilled these teachings, then how can they continue on expounding them? They might immediately close the Dharma text and start talking about a different sutra. The Buddha said that even an attached mind generates unvirtuous karma, because how can your mind be that way if you plan on practicing the Bodhisattva Path and benefiting sentient beings? If you still have any attachments, can you make major offerings or almsgivings? You would not be willing to let go of your money, of course! Nor would you have any compassion for others!

“Many people think being compassionate means treating people well, but that is not exactly correct. You can only cultivate compassion if you are able to carry out the act of renunciation with a virtuous mind. I would not say that I have mastered the 100% of what the Buddha taught, but you are all welcome to see whether I have or not. Some disciples wish to make offerings of enormous sums of money to me, but I refuse them without hesitation. I am not without expenditures; just ask that disciple who is an accountant, and you will find that I have large expenses.

“Before today, I had never read this section of the Ratnakuta Sutra; only now do I realize why those auspicious signs appeared when I went to Drikung Thil Monastery. It was because I have followed the Buddha’s teachings, whereas you have not. As such, of course you are not on the Bodhisattva Path.

“The sutra continues: ‘Practitioners of Bodhisattva Path should abandon all sorts of bodily karma.’ In other words, people cultivating along the Bodhisattva Path should renounce the various karmas of the body. Karma can be either virtuous or evil, and any force that makes us reincarnate is karma. This is why it is written in the Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows that all our thoughts generate karma and vice. Many people feel very sorry for dogs, so they adopt one; this produces karma, too. It is not that you should not have such an intention; rather, you should feel pity for the dog because it is a sentient being that has fallen into the Animal Realm. You should hope that in its next life it will be able to escape it. This is what compassion means. On the surface it might seem that adopting a stray dog is a wonderful thing to do, but what if its longevity was fated to end the very next day? Your interference could cause it to have to live as an animal for another two or three years.

“There is a prayer in Vajrayana Buddhism that expresses the hope that the longevity of all sentient beings in the Three Evil Realms will be short. This is because the shorter their lifespans are, the sooner they can be reborn as humans, and will therefore be able to listen to and practice the Dharma. If you have enough love to adopt a stray dog, then why not take in a homeless person? Your choice to adopt a sentient being for which you feel empathy is not an indication of compassion on your part; it is just a human mind filled with love and desire. Now you have the answer: You often feel that adopting stray animals is another way of being compassionate, but it is just an expression of your love and desire. This is because you discriminate between which ones you like or dislike.

“In Buddhism, we view sentient beings in the Animal Realm with pity and the intention of doing no harm to them. It is our hope that they will not fall into the Animal Realm again in their future lifetimes. This is different from a mind that is filled with love and desire. The reason the Buddha advised people to refrain from keeping pets was that doing so would encourage them to engender more love and desire in their minds. The trend these days is to call one’s pet dog a ‘dog-son.’ If you call someone who is clearly your boyfriend ‘the dog’s dad,’ then you really are contributing to the chaos of this world that is causing the Six Realms to intermingle. Can humans have intercourse with dogs? Even though you haven’t, from the viewpoint of the precepts, you have broken the one against sexual misconduct, because one of the lines describing that says it is forbidden to lie with animals. If one of you is the mom, another is the dad, and the third is the ‘dog-son,’ then where does that imply that it came from? We cannot break the rules of biology. Since you insist on calling the dog your ‘son,’ it means that you and your partner behaved in a way that caused it to be born. Isn’t that rather creepy? It is written in the sutra that raising pets is not smiled upon. You all saw that a lot of monasteries in Tibet kept dogs, but that’s because there are many things in that region that no one but dogs will eat. However, that does not mean they are being raised as pets.

“The sutra text goes on to say, ‘We should be respectful toward monastics, practitioners, and Acharyas.’ These two lines mean that whenever we encounter any monastic or practitioner, we should feel great respect for them—even if we do not have any sort of affinity with them. I have spoken before about a certain person who hanged herself to death. Logically speaking, someone who dies in such a manner should not be able to receive the Phowa, but I had met her in a past life, when I was a monastic and had just completed a retreat. In that lifetime, this person was a man, as well as an apprentice of duck-roasting work. Every day he was responsible for hanging the ducks up to dry. As soon as he saw me walking past, he clasped his palms together in a gesture of great respect. Even though he came back in this lifetime as a woman with a short lifespan who ended up committing suicide, that respect was why I performed the Phowa for her in this lifetime.

“We should respect all monastics who have had their heads shaved and completed the Three Precept Platforms —even the ones who do not always act in accordance with the Dharma. By ‘respect’ I do not mean we have to listen to what they have to say; rather, we must respect them for having fulfilled this ordination, an act that you yourselves have not done. Whether or not a monastic is good at practicing Buddhism is his or her own business, not yours. Therefore, you should revere all those who act in accordance with the Dharma, even if they have only succeeded in keeping a single precept. ‘We should be respectful toward… Acharyas.’ ‘Acharyas’ are practitioners who teach the Dharma to us. The word heshang in this sutra passage does not refer to monks; it means the respectful attitude with which we should treat anyone who practices and teaches us Buddhism.

“In the sutra it is written, ‘We should be respectful toward others, whether they are old or young.’ Whether faced with a child or an elderly person, we should treat both with respect. This does not mean kneeling down and making prostrations to them; nor does it require us to accommodate them in all things. After being born, all children, regardless of age, will have opportunities, in this lifetime, to turn into people who can help sentient beings when they come across good causal conditions. We can safely say that any elderly person over the age of seventy must have cultivated some good fortune over the course of this lifetime, simply due to his or her having lived that long. We therefore should respect the elderly for the good deeds they have done. Similarly, for a child to have been born into this realm, he or she must have done some virtuous acts in previous lifetimes. For these reasons, people practicing the Bodhisattva Path should not look down on or be rude to children and the elderly. Kids can achieve attainment, too; in Zen Buddhist literature there is reference to a child whose words even a Zen master could not refute. Also, some elderly people are able to see things more clearly than we can.

“Do not assume that people in the prime of life are the only ones who can cultivate well, for this is not necessarily true. It has been shown many times here at the Buddhist Center that some elderly people, who are unable to chant the Buddhas’ names, are nevertheless able to practice better than you are, purely on the basis of the great reverence they have for their guru. If you are walking the Bodhisattva Path, then you must respect all sentient beings. This does not mean you have to treat them nicely; it means you must not harbor any contempt or disdain for them. There is good in any sentient being’s learning and cultivating the Dharma or engaging in daily activities, so is worthy of our respect and does not deserve to be scorned.

“The sutra text continues: ‘Practitioners of the Bodhisattva Path should contemplate this in solitude.’ When cultivating along the Bodhisattva Path, we should guide our minds in this direction not just when we see someone, but when we are alone, too. We should train ourselves to think this way normally, and not just when we encounter another person. On our recent trip to Drikung Thil Monastery, why did those disciples forget about the two elderly people who had gotten sick? It was because they did not ordinarily feel respect for the elderly, so they naturally acted neglectfully. Is it because I am sixty-eight years old but do not seem old that you have gotten into the habit of not feeling the need to respect your elders? If, while by yourself, you routinely contemplated how you should act, then you would naturally do the right thing whenever something happened; there would be no need for anyone to teach you or tell you what to do.

“Listening and contemplation are very special ingredients of Buddhist practice. After listening to the Dharma, it is important that you go somewhere by yourself and think long and hard about whether or not you have done as your guru taught. If you have not, then you should ponder what you can do to succeed. After you figure that out, you should practice, which involves amending your incorrect behavior. This does not mean listening to the Dharma and then immediately thinking you are extraordinary because you now know and understand it better than before, compared to in the past when you had never heard it. Rather, you should reflect on whether or not you have acted accordingly. Don’t take it easy on yourself! People often call themselves despicable disciples because they have neither made a firm resolution nor acted on it! I have told you, in all earnestness, that life is impermanent—yet, even now, there are those among you with terminal illnesses who are in denial of their impending death. Actually, you could die even if you aren’t sick; you might get into a car accident, or you could die from a heart attack. If you are still infatuated with this world, then why do you keep coming to the pujas?

“The more a person fears death, the more likely he or she is to die. Take someone like me, for example; I am not afraid of dying, yet I am still alive. You all need to think about the fact that you should not keep acting the way you do. In this section, Shakyamuni Buddha specially emphasizes that while cultivating the Bodhisattva Path, we should not harbor these sorts of thoughts or behave in this manner, even a tiny bit. The reason I reproach you so severely comes from my having read the Ratnakuta Sutra. You all say very eloquently that you are walking the Bodhisattva Path, but Bodhisattvas act and think like Bodhisattvas. Your behavior, by comparison, is still that of ordinary people, so how can you be qualified to practice the Bodhisattva Path?”

Right then Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche berated a disciple who had been instructed to return his disciple’s vest to the Buddhist Center, and who was currently asking the other disciples in his group to sign a consent paper to allow him to take refuge again. Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche gave him a twenty-day extension, and said that if the disciple had not gathered the requisite number of signatures within that time, then he would have to stop attending. “I would not allow any of you to waste time like that here. I saved that disciple’s life, so why has he been muddling along through the past few years? Surely he’s wasted enough time already! The more I expound the Ratnakuta Sutra, the more I begin to feel like you are all just wasting time, as well as deceiving the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, devas, and Dharma protectors. For this reason I might disappear, because you are all such cheats.

“In the sutra are the words, ‘I should not be like that.’ This means that you recognize that you should not do any of those aforementioned things. If you have not gotten to this point yet, you should begin contemplating whether or not you have amended your ways. Do not come to me and say that you want to repent. If you are unwilling to make offerings and amend your behavior, then do you really think your attitude of trying to secure a spot in line will help? Have you pinned your hopes on me coming to your rescue?

“The sutra text goes on to say, ‘I have engendered the aspiration to liberate all sentient beings and rescue their minds so that they will think and act from within in the right frame of mind.’ This refers to what I spoke about before, not to the things you need to think about every day. Take my son, for example, whom I haven’t seen in more than two years. I never wonder when he’ll come home or amend his ways; I do not think about any of that. What should my mind be on instead? I should be thinking about engendering the aspiration to liberate all sentient beings and help their minds abide in the right meditative state so that they act accordingly. Have you done so? How dare you claim to be practicing the Bodhisattva Path? How dare you claim to be aspired or to have made a vow? Have you compared your actions with the teachings of the Buddha?

“Some people complain of not being able to read, but the old monk Guang Qin and the Sixth Patriarch Huineng were both illiterate. Others say they cannot practice and amend their ways due to their old age, but being old won’t stop you. I once asked His Holiness the Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang about this matter, and was told that anyone can achieve attainment as long as that person is respectful toward his or her guru and makes a firm resolution to practice. I don’t even know Tibetan, so how was I able to achieve attainment? I had been trained through several previous lifetimes, so reading the Ratnakuta Sutra made me very happy. I have already come close to attaining realization, unlike many people who continue to be outsiders.

“If you have a job, a paycheck, and a place to live, it all has to do with your good fortune and causal conditions. Once your time in this world is finished, however, these things will all disappear. Don’t think you can pass some on to your children or family members to keep from letting them down or to reassure them that treating you so well was worthwhile in the end. Thus, you should not allow your mind to dwell on these things any longer. On the other hand, what is baffling is that the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and your guru are so good to you, yet you never consider that; you only think about your family. When you are sick, the most your family members will do is to send you to a doctor or bring you something to eat when you are in the hospital. Can they save your life though?” Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche could not help but sigh out loud. “The sutras really are extremely important.

“In the sutra it is written, ‘Practitioners of the Bodhisattva Path should contemplate thusly: “Now I am neither adjusting the perceptions and actions derived from my six roots, practicing diligently, nor using the Dharma to suppress my greed, hatred, and ignorance that arise from these six roots.” They should also contemplate thusly: “Now this is the way I have practiced. When sentient beings see me, their minds will be tamed and will follow what I teach without faltering. Then the Buddhas, devas, nagas, Gandharvas, and so on will all rejoice.”’

“The Buddha is telling practitioners of the Bodhisattva Path that if they want sentient beings to be able to follow their teachings without faltering, then they themselves must first succeed in adjusting their root perceptions and actions. If you practice without doing so, then your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and consciousness will remain smothered by greed, hatred, and ignorance. By failing to adjust these things, you will not be able to practice diligently. Take, for example, that disciple who shared his experiences a little while ago. I had instructed him to make a thousand prostrations, yet he failed to do so. He thought he could get a discount, and that having my blessings and protection was sufficient. This is like getting a prescription but then not taking the medicine! How can you get cured of your illness that way? I thought it was very strange, because I had clearly told him what to do and how to do it, so that should have caused his son to be born without a cleft lip at all. As it happened, he had been skimping on his prostrations all along.

“It’s okay, go ahead and keep being lazy! Slack all you want! You will reap what you sow. Before your karmic retribution matures, your guru is certain to have a Dharma method that can counter it; but after being taught that method, will you actually do it? Or will you think it is too tiring, and only get through five hundred of the required prostrations? You’ll assume that I will definitely bestow blessings upon you because, after all, the Bodhisattvas would never be this strict. A moment ago when I mentioned ‘not practicing diligently,’ that does not refer to how many times you chant or prostrate yourself each day. Rather, have you continued doing those things every day without fail? Have you ever stopped? Have you continuously amended any behavior that would cause you to reincarnate? I say these things, but none of you listens. You all think you have been such good people in this lifetime that you could never fall into the Hell Realm!

“You should all have a look at the Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s Fundamental Vows. In a past life, Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s mother belittled the Three Jewels, and this caused her to fall into hell. Right now you still haven’t really listened to the teachings of your guru and the Buddha, yet you still think you are correct. This means you look down on the Dharma and do not believe how serious an offense that is. You just keep on behaving according to your own ways of thinking. For me, this really doesn’t matter. Practicing without diligence means you are not amending your behavior, and is an indication that you think you already have. To this day even I am still amending my behavior; I wouldn’t dare relax for a minute, or even a second.

“In the sutra it is written, ‘Not using the Dharma to suppress any greed, hatred, or ignorance arising from the six roots.’ We use our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and consciousness every single day, because while we are still living, we need these six sense organs to establish contact with the external world. Furthermore, this contact naturally affects our minds. The words, ‘Not using the Dharma to suppress any greed, hatred, or ignorance arising from the six roots,’ mean that we do not use the Dharma to cover up any actions that could cause us to give rise to greed, hatred, ignorance, or arrogance. Right now you are still incapable of making your six roots enter Emptiness, and therefore cease to affect you; however, they are tools that you can use to live your lives—but which you should not use to achieve your desires. None among you has ever truly used the Dharma.

“I clearly urged a disciple not to go abroad to see her son, but she insisted on going anyway. This was because she had desires; she thought that because he was her son, she absolutely had to see him. As a result, she lost all of her money and came back a pauper with problems that plagued her on a daily basis. Since you consider yourselves to be Buddhist practitioners, before engaging in any action with your body, speech, and mind via your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and consciousness, you should first look at that action clearly from a Buddhist point of view and decide whether it will cause you or other sentient beings to have more afflictions. This is what it means to practice. Don’t think that saying something out loud or writing a heap of nonsense on social media websites doesn’t matter. Once you’ve written something there, before your words have disappeared, something is bound to happen to you, and it will not be any fun at all.

“‘Not using the Dharma to suppress any greed, hatred, or ignorance arising from the six roots’ means that one does not use the Dharma to cover up or inhibit one’s greed, hatred, and ignorance arising from the six roots, or to keep one’s six roots from performing any actions that are beyond one’s physiological functions. We must be diligent, and use the Dharma to act properly. This is a very important point. If you are unable to achieve this right now, no worries, but you should learn how to. To ‘take your time’ does not mean waiting a few hundred lifetimes before you do it; it means you need to begin working on it, one little step at a time, and not allow yourself to grow lax. Buddhist practitioners do not let themselves go lax because they use the Dharma to cover up these six roots so that they cease to have any effect. This is the Dharma method that helps Buddhist practitioners reduce their afflictions.

“What is the difference between not covering up your six roots and not adjusting your six roots? To ‘cover up’ means using the Dharma to suppress them first, and afterward you should adjust your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and consciousness. The purpose of these six roots is to satisfy the requirements of our physiological desires. They must not go beyond these boundaries. As for how to adjust them, we do so using the Dharma. For example, people who are extremely greedy should give large donations to charity and continuously make offerings, while those who are full of hatred should diligently carry out the Ten Meritorious Acts so that they can take a further step toward cultivating the Dharma method of compassion. Ignorant people should develop a deep belief in cause and effect in order to adjust their six roots. Who will help you adjust yours? You are generally incapable of doing it by yourself, so in Buddhism it is said that your guru is like a qin master helping you to tune that instrument’s strings. If you tune them too tightly, they will break; if you tune them too loosely, they will not produce any sound. You cannot see yourselves very clearly, so your guru, as a representative of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, helps to adjust you. There are many different adjustment methods; a guru might berate his or her disciples, kick them out, and so on. It is possible to cover up your six roots by yourselves, but to successfully adjust them you really need to perform retreats. Therefore, those of you who are afraid or can’t stand to be scolded really should stop coming to the Glorious Jewel Buddhist Center.

“The next section says, ‘Practitioners of the Bodhisattva Path should contemplate thusly: “Now this is the way I have practiced. When sentient beings see me, their minds will be tamed and will follow what I teach without faltering. Then the Buddhas, devas, nagas, Gandharvas, and so on will all rejoice.”’

“The reason so many people who kneel before me get scolded and cry is that I have cultivated the Dharma. If this were not the case, and if I hadn’t adjusted my own six roots or covered them up, then upon seeing me, the minds of sentient beings would never be able to submit. Having a lot of believers does not mean a practitioner is very good at cultivating; the most important thing is whether or not the practitioner can subdue them into following his or her teachings. If some of you do not have the causal condition to be able to listen to and follow my teachings, then you are welcome to leave; there is no need for you to stay here, because it is not necessary to force you if you do not have the proper causal conditions. If a guru has not adjusted and covered up the six roots, then how can he or she be qualified to influence sentient beings?

“People often weep for a long time while seeking an audience with me; there aren’t very many who don’t burst into tears when they see me. If they do not cry, it means I have not been able to subdue their minds. Actually, I still have, but the effect might manifest in the future. However, I will certainly hit the nail on the head by reprimanding them right down to the depths of their hearts. This might cause them, after going home, to not dare to see me ever again. If so, it means I have one less to worry about. If people like that don’t dare to see me, it is because they do not want to submit to my teachings. At the very least, however, they will remember having been scolded, so they won’t risk repeating the same actions. This is a way of subduing them as well; it simply means that there exist no affinities for us to become guru and disciples.

“‘Then the Buddhas, devas, nagas, Gandharvas, and so on will all rejoice.’ This means that if you can succeed in doing this, then the Buddhas, devas, nagas, and others of the eight groups of beings will be happy; only then will any auspicious signs appear. If I had been cultivating in the wrong direction over the past few decades, and behaving incorrectly, then the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would not have been pleased. Those auspicious signs were not manifested for me to see; they were indications that the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas were overjoyed to see such a practitioner existing among humans. There were reasons for all of these. It is not a practitioner’s performing long retreats, chanting so many mantras, or having a seemingly dignified appearance that please the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. There is a basis for it. Whether or not the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas like what a practitioner has done depends on whether that practitioner’s actions of body, speech, and mind have been adjusted and amended. If the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, devas, nagas, and others of the eight groups of beings were pleased with you, would you be afraid of suffering any mishaps? Of course you wouldn’t. Even if something did happen, it would be the result of your own karma; a manifestation of your karmic retribution. What good would it do to escape that?

“The next line of the sutra reads, ‘Practitioners of the Bodhisattva Path should feel ashamed if they have such thoughts or engage in such acts.’ If anyone cultivating the Bodhisattva Path exhibits any of the various aforementioned thoughts or actions, then he or she should feel ashamed. We should repent immediately upon having such thoughts, because we have let down the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and sentient beings. While I was in retreat, for example, even having a dream made me abruptly get out of bed to repent. You, on the other hand, would have kept on snoring away, deep in sleep. I got up to repent even when a thought appeared that went against what we have just been talking about; I awoke immediately and made prostrations to the Buddha before returning to bed. During the retreat on Lapchi Snow Mountain in 2007, it got down to between minus ten and minus twenty degrees Celsius at night, so getting out of bed was quite a pain. I had to unzip my sleeping bag, stand up, and make prostrations of repentance to the Buddha before I got back in and fell asleep again.

“How was I able to sense those thoughts in my dream? It was because I had spent all day training myself, so that practice continued even while I was dreaming. One of the Eight Sadhanas of Tantrism is the Dream Yoga. A lot of people can control their thoughts during the daytime, but at night they lose that ability. Many monastics do quite well during the day, but as soon as it grows dark their minds become polluted with distracting thoughts no matter how hard they chant. This is because they do not have the help of Tantra, so their chi-channels fall into disarray.

“It is written in the sutra, ‘Practitioners of the Bodhisattva Path should contemplate thusly: “Do not let ordained practitioners or lay people scold me because I have not been dignified and mindful of the ‘karmas of body, speech, and mind’ such as breaking the precepts, erring in my views and conduct, or living an evil life.”’ This statement is a very strong exhortation. It means that those of you cultivating the Bodhisattva Path should think deeply about not letting monastics or laity admonish you for not being dignified in body, speech, or mind and say that you have broken the precepts. If you are on the Bodhisattva Path, then you should not let your actions of body, speech, or mind give sentient beings any opportunities to slander your practice. I frequently keep a low profile so as to prevent people from slandering Buddhism. This is not an easy task, and requires extra effort.”

His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche led the disciples in a performance of the Dharma Protector Achi prayer and dedication. Upon the perfect completion of the puja, the attendees thanked the guru in unison. All rising, they clasped their palms in reverent homage to His Eminence Rinchen Dorjee Rinpoche.

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Updated on March 24, 2016